Accepted Paper:

Out of Amazonia: Late Holocene Climate Change and the Tupi-Guarani Trans-Continental Expansion  

Authors:

Jonas Gregorio de Souza (University of Exeter)
Francis Mayle (University of Reading)
Richard Jones
Jose Iriarte (University of Exeter)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the role of climate and social factors in the late Holocene expansion of the Tupi-Guarani languages from southern Amazonia to SE South America by comparing continental-scale paleoecological, paleoclimate, and archaeological datasets.

Paper long abstract:

The late Holocene expansion of the Tupi-Guarani languages from southern Amazonia to SE South America constitutes one of the largest expansions of any linguistic family in the world, spanning ~ 4000 km between latitudes 0°S and 35°S at about 2500 yr B.P. However, the underlying reasons for this expansion are a matter of debate. Here, we compare continental-scale paleoecological, paleoclimate, and archaeological datasets, to examine the role of climate change in facilitating the expansion of this forest-farming culture. Because this expansion lies within the path of the South American Low-Level Jet, the key mechanism for moisture transport across lowland South America, we were able to explore the relationship between climate change, forest expansion, and the Tupi-Guarani. Our data synthesis shows broad synchrony between late Holocene increasing precipitation and southerly expansion of both tropical forest and Guarani archaeological sites - the southernmost branch of the Tupi-Guarani. We conclude that climate change likely facilitated expansion of the Guarani forest-farming culture by increasing the area of forested landscape that they could exploit, showing a prime example of ecological opportunism.

Panel P31
Indigenous populations-vegetation-climate relationship in the past: what can this teach us about sustainable vegetation use in the present?